AT&T Nokia Lumia 920 review: simple and straight to the point.

I've owned various smartphones and I routinely switch back and forth, sometimes out of boredom and sometimes because I like trying new tech. In my household there are Macs, PCs, Android and iOS devices. I have two XBOX consoles and a Mac Mini as a home theater PC. I also have two iPads and a Nexus 7. And of course, various Windows laptops. I've also owned various smartphones from Blackberry, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, LG, Sony Ericsson, the works! I've played with pretty much everything.

And now I own a Windows Phone 8 device. The Nokia Lumia 920 from AT&T.

Here are my thoughts.

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First impressions: QUALITY. That was my first thought when I unboxed it and held it. Quality. There's something about the curved back and smooth matte black finish, along with the excellent construction and design that make this phone feel just great in the hand. It has a heft to it like most reviewers have described, however I find this to be a good thing, I feel that the heft adds quality to the device, it makes it feel like something of value. I feel that most reviewers on certain tech sites have greatly exaggerated the device's weight just for the sake of a cheap jab against Microsoft. If this were an iPhone with the same heft, nobody would complain and the bloggers would be going gaga over it. This is a fact. In short, excellent build and design quality. No creaks, no rattles, it's on par if not better than iPhone construction. It's a fine crafted device.

The screen is great, but it's not AMOLED, and you can tell because the blacks aren't as pure as the old Lumia 900. Other than that, it's sharp, clear, bright, and very nice. For pixel whores, I couldn't really see any on screen and everything looks great. No complaints.

The software is speedy, haven't encountered any weird bugs or nags yet. The animations are beautiful and futuristic, and overall the UI and UX are beautifully simple. Things just work. No complaints. This phone reminds me a lot like the iPhone in many ways, it's simple, elegant, and everything just works.

Call quality and LTE reception in my area work fine, and everything sounds crisp. Internet browsing on LTE is fast and IE 10 does a very good job of rendering and loading full webpages very well. No complaints.

Sound quality with headphones is very nice, and the built in Dolby equalizer settings do make a difference. It's not dramatic, but there is a difference and music sounds nice and loud with a pair of decent headphones. The external speaker is fine, it's nothing special, but it gets the job done with calls on speakerphone or listening to media without headphones.

The camera is really, really great, particularly at night shots. I thought the pureview marketing was a gimmick, but it actually works, or so it seems. I took a few snaps at night in my downtown area of the city and the pictures came out beautiful, I'm not a camera expert but the camera seems to capture a lot of light and the resulting image is of good quality with very little noise. Every other phone I've had has taken horrific night time shots no matter how much I toyed with the settings. The Lumia 920 takes GREAT NIGHT photos. Try it out, you'll be surprised.

Daytime shots look very good too. Some people have complained about soft images, I haven't really noticed it but I assume it depends how much light you have and your settings. I've taken all my photos on auto settings with the exception of focus light set to OFF.

In short, it's a great camera and takes great photos, and the night photos are pretty fantastic.

Now, onto the App selection. There are apps, but yes many that are on Android and iOS are missing. However, most of the apps I use are available and I'm fine with that. I know more apps are coming down the line so I'm OK with this for now. Also, it seems there are many apps on the store which are either knockoffs or just plain weird and useless, MSFT should do a much better job of cleaning these out. Other WP8 users know what I'm talking about.

In closing, I really like this phone. It has a lot of tech for $99 on contract and WP8 is really great. I don't have many complaints other than the app store, but otherwise it's a fine phone and many people keep coming up to me to play with it because it's so "different".

Is it better than Android or iPhone? I don't know and I don't care, I think at this point it's about personal preference. I just really like this phone and I think a lot of people are going to take notice. Microsoft with Windows 8, XBOX, and now Windows Phone 8 have a pretty great "ecosystem", and in combination with their cloud services (Outlook.com Mail, Skydrive, etc), this is a good alternative to Apple and Google.